Good News Cooking

Good News Cooking

Hello, dear pond readers! At last, today is the day I write about my adventures in cooking the harvest from my Good News Garden. I have cooked an old favorite, new favorites, a disastrous experiment, and learned how to pickle. I have also scarfed down sweet peas fresh from the vine and blueberries fresh from my small but lovely shrub after rinsing them off with my water bottle or the hose. It has all been a treat of an adventure and I even managed to get some pictures.

Mashed cauliflower is an old favorite in my household. The directions are simple: 1) steam fresh cauliflower 2) mash with room-temp cream cheese 3) season to taste 4) nom with enthusiasm. Yes, your kitchen will be redolent with cauliflower smell if you’re not prompt about cleaning the saucepan but the dish is delicious. This year, I successfully managed to grow and harvest a cauliflower head, praise be to God. I also harvested some tiny Yukon gold potatoes and tiny yellow onions. I steamed the lot altogether, mashed it with cream cheese, and spiced it with black pepper, ground mustard, paprika, and a hint of sea salt. There were no leftovers, only happy tummies.

A new favorite to our kitchen is radish-green pesto. I planted radishes this year as an experiment and it did not go as expected. Instead of getting neat little rosy roots, the plants all bolted and I got an abundant supply of greens. I looked up ways to use them and found this excellent radish-green pesto recipe from Love and Lemons. My Wee Bairn and I went over to my mom-in-law’s to use her food processor to make a giant batch of pesto. It turned out to be the best pesto that I’ve ever had and I really like pesto. I made a slightly more bitter batch with beet greens that I froze for later. A significant amount of fresh radish pesto was enjoyed as a dip with cheese and crackers in addition to pasta. The Wee Bairn even ate some! It was a miracle. In keeping with the Good News Garden principle of sharing the harvest, I shared the pesto with my folks and with friends. The beet and radish green pesto batch proved to taste amazing when mixed with feta or mixed into recipes like my vegan ratatouille. The vegan ratatouille also included onion and fresh tomatoes from the garden, too. Bonus, my friends’ child really liked the ratatouille, too. Huzzah!

Last year, my Good News Garden was blessed with numerous spaghetti squash. I was able to give a lot away but I also used a lot in creative kitchen experiment. I made a spaghetti squash casserole last year that I was super excited about because not only did my Wee Bairn help me make the casserole as official pour-er of veggies, cheese, sauce, and spice but said picky-eater actually ate it with gusto. It was a beautiful moment in time. Alas, I neglected to write the recipe down and I blame my post-dinner food coma. This year though, with my beautiful little spaghetti squash, I had to try again. Last year, I had layered spaghetti squash, spiraled butternut squash, spiraled carrot, and spiraled beets with a three cheese mixture under a red sauce with veggie meat crumbles, spices, and more cheese. I tried something similar this year but I didn’t have all the spiraled veggies. To compensate, I added veggies from the Good News Garden. I was out of red sauce and red sauce ingredients but had leftover homemade meat sauce from my mom-in-law and some meatless veggie sausages. I layered spiraled frozen butternut squash, spiraled frozen zucchini, my spaghetti squash, my green beans, my green peas, my broccoli, my Yukon gold potatoes, and one of my small yellow onions in a 9×13″ pan. I poured the meat sauce over top, layered on a mixture of mozzarella and parmesan cheese, a thin layer of beet pesto, the veggie sausages, extra cheese, and homemade buttered bread crumbs during the last six minutes. I baked the whole thing for 30 minutes total at 350F. The first night, the zucchini flavor was too strong but as leftovers, it was delicious with wonderful flavor bursts throughout as one encountered the different garden contributions. I liked it. The Wee Bairn declined to try any but oh well. At least now, I’ve written it all down.

Quiches and frittatas have long been go-to recipes in my kitchen, especially when entertaining. In celebration of getting to spend the day with family, I made a frittata with a garden fresh twist. I microwaved frozen spinach and layered it on the bottom of a 9×13″ pan. I layered two packages of low-fat/low-sodium feta cheese on top of the spinach then fresh broccoli from the garden, my onion, and some of my homemade beet pesto on top. I poured 10 beaten eggs over the mixture, a few more crumbles of feta, and some squirts of pureed basil on top before baking the whole thing for 45 minutes at 425F. My beloved little sis declared it the best frittata ever and we gobbled it up in very short order.

Best Frittata Ever

My kitchen disaster was a foray into making roasted cauliflower leaves. I’ve read that they’re delicious and similar to kale leaves or seaweed and thought I would try it with the remains of my garden cauliflower plant. This did not go well. I burned them into charcoal briquettes and managed to get the whole house to smell like dead cauliflower for far too long. At least I didn’t set the smoke alarm off.

So Many Cauliflower Leaves, So Little Skill at Roasting Them

A far better kitchen experiment this summer has been learning how to pickle. After watching an episode of Waffles and Mochi about pickles, my Wee Bairn, my spouse, and I were all fired up to try it ourselves with our Good News Garden harvest. I found this recipe for refrigerator pickles before I knew that Waffles and Mochi had their own magic pickle recipe. More pickle fun to try! Because I did not have seeds called for in the recipe I tried, I used powdered spices instead. We assembled the other ingredients for the refrigerator recipe, filled the jars as a family, and waited with bated breath for two weeks until Pickle Day. We packed the jars with sweet peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, garden carrots, garden cucumbers supplemented with store cucumbers, garden onions, fresh dill, and the single beet that I had successfully grown. Stuffing a little bit of all the vegetables in the jars was super fun for all three of us. We made an event out of Pickle Day by gathering a cheese plate, crackers, and soup to enjoy the pickles with my mom-in-law. Turns out, we did great! The pickles were crunchy, flavorful, and paired well with our improvised charcuterie board. I think that I’ve found a new kitchen hobby to experiment with alongside my family.

Fruit is a favorite in our family and we were successfully able to grow some in the garden this year. The honeydew have been an experiment with mixed results. I grew two tiny melons roughly the size of a nectarine. They tasted bitter but made the kitchen smell delicious. My foray into growing blueberries has gone well. I bought a small shrub that had green berries on it which managed to hang on until they ripened. My Wee Bairn takes great delight in watering the shrub with whatever rain is in the nearby rain gauge and being able to turn 12 fresh berries into an evening snack for the two of us was elementally satisfying. The watermelons have been a particular source of excitement. One was stolen off the vine by some creature but two survived albeit at a small size. I didn’t know if they were big enough to eat or not but when the curly vine by the melons got brown, I took a chance and picked them. My mom-in-law cut them up for me and they tasted delicious. What a treat! I feel ridiculously pleased and profoundly grateful that we were able to feast on garden grown watermelon as a family. Fun fact, the Wee Bairn took the watermelon picture below and I’m chuffed to display it here.

I have ambitions to use the rind from my tiny watermelons to make watermelon pickles this weekend. We’ll see how it goes but even if it doesn’t turn out, trying a new kitchen adventure is fun. How is your garden going this year, dear pond readers? Any new kitchen experiments? Other creative ideas?

Please, get vaccinated, wear your mask, wash your hands, stay well, stay kind, and leave a comment or question below. Thanks for stopping by the pond today.

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program here at Technicolorlilypond, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Some of the links in this post are part of this program and I hope that any fees will help support me as I continue writing and doing creative things here at Technicolorlilypond. Thanks for your support!

I will close with an image of my asters blooming and helping my pollinator neighbors bulk up for winter. I’ve seen multiple monarchs and many bees sampling the asters and it is inspiring.

Fall Asters and Good News Garden Sign by E.A. Schneider

Culinary Creations

Culinary Creations

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Brown-eyed Susan Close-up by E.A. Schneider

Hello, dear pond readers! The necessity of eating in due to COVID-19 coupled with the emotional comfort found in cooking & eating tasty food during crisis fostered a boom in people rediscovering their kitchens that might now be leveling off. While I have not spent a lot of time talking about cooking here at the pond, it is a hobby that I greatly enjoy. I like the adventure of exploring new flavor combinations and devising new recipes. It is also incredibly satisfying making something that people love enough to incorporate into their cells. Watching people take seconds or thirds or tote leftovers home in goody bags is especially gratifying.

Over the course of COVID-19 quarantine and pandemic life, I have enjoyed cooking at home a lot. I never joined the sourdough starter fandom though now I am curious to try knowing that even failed starters can help microbial science. Rather I made a bunch of crockpot meals, experimented with a new casserole, and then I decided to be brave and bake a special family recipe I learned when I married but had never yet attempted. Despite my love of photography, I wound up not taking the standard beauty shot of an exquisitely plated dish for everything. I was too hungry. Hopefully, the following couple slideshows help inspire you to make some tasty creations of your own.

Unfortunately, I had to make some treats for a wake for a family member during this crisis. I used two box mixes to make gluten free scones and brownies but I made some fruity, oatmeal, chocolate cookies from scratch. I individually wrapped everything to make it easier for people to take while social distancing but that also means they don’t really look like much of anything. The Spicy Mustard Beef Stew is one that I never make exactly the same way twice in a row but it is easy, comforting, and filling. I have made several batches and will probably make more before too long. I follow a heuristic outline of ratios of ingredients that blend well. The spicy mustard and paprika flavor combo is the consistent motif. The Experimental Treats need some tweaking yet. I was struck with inspiration to bake some crescent roll dough sheets rolled around a mix of creamed cream cheese, jelly, peanut butter, organic hazelnut spread, and mini chocolate chips. They turned out very tasty considering it was a haphazard first attempt. As part of my town’s public library summer reading challenge, I actually sat down and codified my interpretation of Enchilada Casserole into a more or less legible recipe which appears after the first slideshow below.

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Ellen’s Pandemic 2020 Enchilada Casserole Recipe 

    • Preheat oven to 375F and use a frying pan or wok to cook filling and a 9″x13″ pan to cook the casserole
    • Ingredients:
      • Ground Turkey
      • Wheat tortillas
      • Olive oil/cooking spray
      • Diced:
        • onion
        • green pepper
        • mini-sweet peppers
      • Canned:
        • diced tomatoes & chiles
        • sweet corn
        • refried beans
      • Riced cauliflower & mixed veggies
      • Cheddar cheese (shreds and sliced)
      • Taco sauce/enchilada sauce
      • Spices (All spices to taste):
        • chipotle chili
        • chili powder
        • cumin
        • black pepper
        • soy sauce
      • Garnishes:
        • diced chives
        • Greek yogurt/sour cream
        • queso cheese
        • Tortilla chip crumbles
        • Salsa
        • Guacamole
Directions:
    1.  Cook the onions, green peppers, & sweet peppers with oil/cooking spray for 5 minutes
    2.  Cook the ground turkey in the pan with the sauteed veggies
    3. Add soy sauce, chipotle chili, chili powder, cumin, and black pepper to the turkey to taste
    4. Spray a 9″x13″ pan with oil/cooking spray
    5. Lay 3 tortillas down
    6. Spread refried beans & riced cauliflower/veggies on tortillas with half a can of corn with taco sauce
    7. Sprinkle with cheese and add more tortillas
    8. Spread 3/4 turkey and cheese shreds and then add more tortillas
    9. Spread sliced cheese
    10. Open the canned tomatoes & chiles and mix with the remaining turkey
    11. Spread mixed turkey and tomatoes & remaining corn then drizzle taco sauce on top
    12. Cover with sprinkled cheese and tortilla chip crumbles and any desired extra sauce.
    13. Bake casserole for 20-25 minutes until cheese looks melted
    14. Garnish with chives and serve with yogurt and queso cheese and other desired garnishes

Cabbage biscuits are my big COVID-19 cooking triumph. Here’s some background. When I first married, I quickly discovered that my new grandma-in-law’s cabbage biscuits were a big family favorite and I loved them as much as my new family did. The simple blend of cabbage, onion, beef, and bread is a delectable comfort food. The vegetarian version that left out the beef was just as delicious and led to wonderful stories about the family’s history over the dinner table. It also struck me as a singularly kind and inclusive act on the part of my grandma-in-law to make a vegetarian version of her standard cabbage biscuit so that I could enjoy them, too. I felt very welcome and loved eating those biscuits. As soon as I could, I asked to observe the mysteries of cabbage biscuit construction and my new grandma-in-law happily agreed. I spent a lovely afternoon in her kitchen listening, observing, and taking notes in my creative notebook. Life got busy and I put the notebook away in a safe place to try someday when I had time.

Truthfully though, I rather wussed out. I was intimidated that I couldn’t do it right and so I never tried. I also misplaced the notebook. Safe places are never quite safe when it comes to storing precious things. The COVID-19 pandemic crisis took away my excuses. No notebook? Found it while cleaning. No time? Here’s time. Won’t turn out good enough? Cooked food is good enough. Someday will be a better time? There might not be a someday, at least not one when I can still ask for my grandma-in-law’s feedback. Carpe diem.

While my grandma-in-law makes bread dough from scratch, she urged me to just buy frozen dough and save myself some time. Trusting her advice, I found a frozen bread dough that was easy to work with and used that. Boy am I glad that I did. Successfully defrosting and baking frozen bread dough is more my speed than trying to make dough from scratch. I did try to bake bread years and years ago. It did not go well. Listening to podcasts while cooking the filling, rolling the dough, and making the biscuits was a relaxing way to spend a Saturday. It also made our entire house smell delicious for a couple days. While I am no longer a vegetarian, I did tweak the recipe. My deviation was using ground turkey cooked with soy sauce in place of beef. Otherwise, I used the 2:1 ratio of cabbage & onions to meat piled high within a bun that my original notes dictated. The biscuits aren’t aesthetically perfect. I couldn’t roll the dough thin enough and ran out of white bread dough even though I used three defrosted loaves. The sizes of the biscuits were variable and generally smaller than the directions called for. But that’s okay. I realized as I was cooking that despite my prior anxieties, none of those deviations are all that significant. The biscuits were tasty. The smaller size was actually kind of fun. Extra bread is no big deal.  The filling freezes well. The best part? My grandma-in-law, husband, and mother-in-law all really liked the cabbage biscuits. I will try this recipe again this year and it has the potential to become a regular family staple moving forward.

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What kinds of creations are you cooking up in your kitchen, dear pond readers? Have you gotten to try anything new that you never dared to try before this crisis? Please, wear your mask, wash your hands, stay well, stay kind, and leave a comment or question below. Thanks for stopping by the pond today.

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Brown eyed Susan by E.A. Schneider

Star Trek Guide: the Conclusion

Hailing frequencies open, dear pond readers! A couple months ago now, I published a post detailing a plan to introduce someone to Star Trek in one day. Now, I can publish the sequel to how that day actually turned out. I’m re-posting the blurbs featured in the original post to give you all some context on what we’re discussing.  Enjoy!

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A small subset of my beloved Star Trek model collection by E.A. Schneider

Introductions:

You know me, Ellen, your friendly neighborhood pond-dweller who is a definite Trekkie. I have picked the viewing and am asking my nerd friend questions. The nerd friend who is the inspiration for Star Trek day is Amber of burgeoning Youtube fame as a co-host of the Drunken Library. Amber, would you like to put a blurb about yourself here at the pond with any links you want?

Amber: Sure! The Drunken Library is a YouTube channel where my friend Sam and I get drunk, talk about books, and generally revel in an abundance of shenanigans. You can find us at: http://www.youtube.com/c/drunkenlibrary

Ellen: Thanks again, Amber. Alright, on to the episodes!

The Blurb: 
Star Trek: the Original Series: “Balance of Terror” Season 1, Episode 14 This episode has everything: fabulous writing that grapples with contemporary socio-political issues, intense character moments, and some thrilling action. The performances, especially guest star Mark Leonard and Leonard Nimoy’s Spock, are really something special. And that final scene? Be still my nerdly heart! It’s a good episode, especially when you think about the world of the 1960s with all that Cold War tension. ST:TOS really excels at confronting issues of race, prejudice, and the difficulties of maintaining peace with warring neighbors throughout its three season run; this episode is a great example.

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The Romulan warbird from the “Balance of Terror”

The Viewing:

Amber: When did this episode air?

Ellen: Apparently, 12/15/1966. What did you think, Amber?
Amber: I liked it. It’s cool to see them not being famous people, see where they started. I can’t help comparing it to Doctor Who, that’s my massive nerd obsession. Did they film it in color?

Ellen: Yeah, they did.

Amber: Okay, cool.

Ellen: Did you notice how diverse the background extras are?

Amber: No, not until you mentioned it. I noticed Uhura and George Takei on the bridge, that’s cool.

The Blurb:
Star Trek the Animated Series: “The Practical Joker”Season 2, Episode 3
The Animated Series is awkwardly placed in Star Trek.  It is officially licensed, it includes the same voice talent, many of the same writers from the live show write episodes, and some things from the animated series went on to influence the rest of the shows but…it is not canon. Technically, by my own rules, this series shouldn’t be in this viewing day because it is not main storyline. But, given all of the above positives added to the creative renderings of aliens impossible to show on live TV, and the bigger parts given to supporting characters, particularly women, I just can’t help but really love this series. Also, the cheesy animation is entertaining in its own right. Therefore I declare this to be Bonus Viewing! “The Practical Joker” features the “Rec Room,” an early use of holographic technology without which we wouldn’t have all sorts of awesome adventures in other series. I also think showing the pitfalls of the technology that makes this future possible in a comedic way is fun sci-fi.

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The  computer has a sense of humor.

The Viewing:
Ellen:
This episode aired on 9/21/1974, over ten years after TOS went off the air. What did you think?

Amber: Doesn’t take itself too seriously, it is cheesy in a cartoony way but I liked it.

The Blurb:
Star Trek: the Next Generation: “Darmok” Season 5, Episode 2
A fan favorite and a personal favorite, “Darmok,” is about the overwhelming importance of communication and the lengths a committed diplomat will go to make sure that connection is made. “Darmok” also showcases the universal importance of Stories in a very compelling way. It inspired me to read Gilgamesh, actually (you’ll understand why if you watch the episode). This episode has great action, characterization, and more than a few stellar lines by Patrick Stewart’s Jean-Luc Picard. Diplomacy over violence is one of the big points of Star Trek, and Picard’s Enterprise does it so well. Even though this episode is primarily a Picard vehicle, you get to see his crew working as a team to help him through a pretty unique first contact and considering how amazing his crew is, that’s important.

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The Viewing: 
Ellen:
This aired on 9/28/1991.

Amber: Okay, I think I saw part of this series when I was a kid, not this episode.

Ellen: What did you think when you saw them land on the planet with daggers?

Amber: Didn’t think it was a duel. Maybe an offering or a hunt?

Ellen: What do you think of Picard’s response? The crew’s?

Amber: At least he wasn’t all aggressive. [The crew] was all aggressive, not necessary.

Ellen: The children of Tarmar only speak in stories, what do you think of that?

Amber: Like the concept, not sure how effective it is but thought it was cool.

Ellen: Does it remind you of anything we do?

Amber: Yeah, inside jokes and pop culture references. I like that the crew understood what was happening but not the story but the Captain understood the story without the historical library info. It was like immersion vs. research for learning a language and I find that really appealing.

The Blurb:
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: “Duet” Season 1, Episode 18
Deep Space Nine grappled with the messy complications of war in all its stages: before, during, and after. Through the clean-up of Bajor post-Cardassian occupation and with the Dominion invasion it does this messy job very well with a stellar cast of characters who undergo tremendous growth over the course of the show. I think “Duet” encapsulates all of these themes while showcasing the powerful Major Kira Nerys at the beginning of her journey. Major Kira has some understandable issues with Cardassians and this episode forces her to confront them but it is still a stand-alone, you get all the exposition you need within the first few minutes. Fans generally hate on the first three seasons of Deep Space Nine. While I agree that the show didn’t find its stride until season four, I think there were still a lot of good episodes with compelling stories in the first three seasons and that a show needs time to build momentum, especially a show with a big ensemble cast.

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Kira and Maritza from DS9

The Viewing: 
Ellen:
So, what did you think?

Amber: It was an interesting progression. It was sad that he tried to do something good then got stabbed. Racism at its finest!

Ellen: Were you able to follow what was happening alright?

Amber: Rough to catch what was happening at first, your background before the episode helped. It was interesting to watch her being so conflicted about something based on prejudice and overcome racism to think positively toward someone different. Always is cool when that can happen.

The Blurb:

Star Trek: Voyager: “Blink of an Eye” Season 6, Episode 12
The Prime Directive states that Starfleet personnel are prohibited from interfering in the development of other civilizations. It is their highest principle and it can be pretty hard to hold up sometimes, but what do you do when you’re influencing a civilization and you didn’t know it? This is the main question of this episode and is an excellent showcase for the strengths of Voyager. Within Star Trek the series frequently explores difficult ethical questions, especially when the Prime Directive is in play, and I think that tends to be when the franchise is at its best. The premise of Voyager,a ship lost and alone literally hundreds of years of travel away from allies, particularly lends itself to questions of morality versus pragmatics, pushing the boundaries a little on all those high-ideals Star Trek is known for. But, Voyager has a lot of haters, I used to be a doubter, but I liked the show overall when I got to re-watch it on streaming. I loved the ensemble cast, especially B’Elanna Torres and Tom Paris, and I liked Captain Janeway a lot. Voyager is definitely worth a second look.

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The Viewing: 

Ellen: So, what did you think?

Amber: I really liked the captain and SevenofNine seemed cool. It was really neat to see a timey wimey civilization, almost like playing CIV [Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution] to see it all go by so fast.

Ellen: What do you think of the crew and their decision not to fight?

Amber: They put a lot of faith in the astronaut, without him they were effed. It’s a strong commitment to the prime directive. I wouldn’t have understood all that without your explanation, though.

The Blurb:
Star Trek: Enterprise: “The Cogenitor” Season 2,  Episode 22
Speaking of the Prime Directive, this is an episode that explores why a powerful, wanna-be-technologically-sophisticated race of explorers might need a rule like that if they are going to go star-hopping. Again, more big questions with good storytelling and the plucky ensemble cast of Enterprise exploring the universe. The premise of Enterprise is that it chronicles the beginning of humanity’s voyage to the stars before the United Federation of Planets was founded. Like Voyager, Enterprise also has a lot of haters, and I also used to be one. But, after re-watching the show, I realized that I let prequel prejudice color my judgment. “Why do we need a prequel? Who needs prequels, anyway?”<–younger, more nerd-rage-y, Ellen. Well, this episode actually gives a good answer to that rather petulant question. Enterprise has its ups and downs, I think it was really hitting its stride in its last season, but this episode is definitely one of the ups.

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The Viewing: 
Ellen:
Alright, the last episode. It aired on 4/30/2003 and was directed by Star Trek alum, LeVar Burton. What did you think?

Amber: Is that how they made the Federation, by going around talking to people?

Ellen: Yes, that is exactly how they made it.

Amber: Cool. That episode seemed to have a pretty big shout-out to “Dead Poet’s Society.”

Ellen: Yeah, I can see that. I don’t know if there’s a connection though.

Amber: That episode also had the weirdest flirting I’ve ever seen.

Ellen: [Laughing] Yeah…Star Trek definitely has its share of flirting over the years. Malcolm is kind of the worst security officer, too. What did you think of the story?

Amber: I get [Trip’s] impulse but still, but, if they [the Cogenitor] can’t achieve the dream you’re getting them to dream, you’re not really helping them.

Ellen: Yeah, it’s pretty complicated. You also don’t know if they ever established diplomatic relations or not after this and what could have changed if they could’ve had a diplomatic relationship. It is really bittersweet.

The Blurb:

Bonus Viewing: Trekkies(1997)The fan culture of Star Trek has a life and significance unto itself, which Denise Crosby sets out to document with love and humor in Trekkies. I think this documentary is splendid. Crosby catches everything from the ridiculous to the affecting as she travels the U.S.A. talking to trekkies of all walks of life. Who knows? Maybe if my geek friend winds up interested in watching more Star Trek, she might even watch the sequel with me another day.

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Fly on, little Trek baby

The Viewing: 
Ellen:
That’s everything, Amber! What did you think of the documentary?

Amber: It was interesting. It was kind of all over the place but it was nice to get some insight into some of the impact of the show.

Ellen: What is the verdict on Star Trek day?

Amber: This was really fun. The food was delicious. I think I’ve been missing out on food whenever I try to get people into “Doctor Who.”

Ellen: That’s okay; I do also just really like to cook, too. What did you think of the show?

Amber: I think that I’m going to watch some more. I’ll watch some of the first one and see how it goes.

Ellen: Cool! Did you have a favorite episode from today?

Amber: I liked the Voyager one, “Blink of an Eye,” the best because it was so timey-wimey. I also liked “Darmok” because I’m fascinated with language so the language barrier was really neat and it was a cool way to approach linguistics.

Ellen: Thanks again for coming and giving Star Trek a chance.

Amber: Thanks for having me it was fun. I really liked the tour format of one episode per show; it was great to get a sense of the franchise without being too overwhelming.

 

Q’pla! Star Trek day was a success. First and foremost, Amber, my nerd friend, had fun and doesn’t hate me. Huzzah! Second, she enjoyed the shows and might just watch more. I can’t ask for anything more than that. This calls for my favorite GIF.

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Picard from Insurrection found using a google search

 

Now, regarding the food, I came up with a bit of a spread. Below you’ll find my menu and a couple of recipes so that you can make it so tasty to watch Star Trek.

 

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My out of this world spread, at least in part

The food that I served included:

  • Crescent rolls
  • Lemon curd
  • Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
  • Pizza
  • Star Trek Cookies
  • Sisko’s Creole Gumbo
    • Recipe below
  • Baguette
  • Klingon G’agh!
    • Recipe below
  • Romulan Ale
    • Recipe below

The tea and crescent rolls, a poor person’s croissant, were my shout out to Captain Picard. I don’t know if he likes lemon curd but I can just picture Picard with a lemon curd decked croissant in one hand, steaming cup of tea in the other, and listening to a concerto in the morning.

I have no immediate Star Trek tie in to the pizza but I am sure that it is served in one or other of the shows because pizza is amazing. Also, any day devoted to geeky nerd fan-dom should include some pizza.

Star Trek cookies! They were just sugar cookie dough but they were super tasty all the same. I also like the cute chubby appearance the shapes took on during baking.

 

Sisko’s creole gumbo is a recipe that I significantly adjusted from the America’s Test Kitchen Slow Cooker Revolution cookbook. It was an experiment, I’ve never made a gumbo before, but the results were quite delicious. Here’s the recipe, as I did it, and please don’t blame the folks at ATK for how yours turns out, blame my freestyle in the kitchen.

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My interpretation of Sisko’s Creole Gumbo

Ingredients:

  • Condensed French Onion soup in a can
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups minced onion
  • 1 bag frozen gumbo vegetable mix
    • Contains:
      • okra
      • onion
      • red bell pepper
      • green bell pepper
      • sweet corn
    • 2 celery ribs, minced
    • 6 garlic cloves, minced
    • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
    • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
    • 1 pound Andouille sausage, sliced ½ inch thick
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
    • ½ bag frozen deveined, shelled large shrimp pre-cooked
    • 4 scallions, sliced thin
    • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Directions: Sauté minced onions in vegetable oil with garlic cloves and celery until onions are golden brown/translucent, about 5 minutes. Defrost frozen vegetables for about 4 minutes in microwave. Put condensed French onion soup into slow cooker. Add cooked onion mixture, defrosted vegetables, chicken broth, thyme, cayenne pepper, and mix. Stir sausage slices and bay leaves into slow cooker. Season chicken with salt and pepper then nestle into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours. Close to the end of cooking time, boil a large pot of salted water. Add the defrosted, shelled, deveined shrimp and cook until opaque, about four minutes. Shred the chicken from the gumbo either on a cutting board or using shears in the pot. Mix in the cooked shrimp, the scallions, the parsley, and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaves. Serve with rice or baguette.

For some extra interstellar flavor, I made my interpretation of the Klingon delicacy, G’agh! It does not involve live serpent worms but it does involve cabbage, which is probably just about as appealing to some. Again, I adjusted a recipe that I found in the America’s Test Kitchen cookbook, Slow Cooker Revolution. I basically use their recipes as a jumping off place to experiment and you shouldn’t blame them if your interpretation of this dish doesn’t turn out. Below is my interpretation of their Sweet and Sour Braised Cabbage, which sounded like a warrior’s side dish to me.

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Gagh! A warrior’s side dish

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds sliced red cabbage
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 package pre-cooked bacon pieces
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • Dried thyme, to taste
  • Ground cinnamon, to taste
  • Caraway seeds, to taste
  • Ground allspice, to taste
  • 5 cups pure apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Directions: Microwave cabbage with half the oil and salt to taste for about 20 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker using tongs. Soften onion and spices with remaining vegetable oil in the microwave for five minutes. Put spiced onions in slow cooker with cabbage. Add the apple juice, the package of cooked bacon, half the brown sugar, and 1 bay leaf to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 hours. Stir in vinegar and sugar, adding more to taste as desired. Remove the bay leaf and serve.

Romulan Ale is a legendary menu item of the Star Trek universe. It is supposedly so alcoholic, so potent, that it is banned across Federation territory and bootlegging it is an under the table privilege of commanders on the edge of the galaxy. The fans know only one thing for sure about Romulan Ale: it is electric blue. Regardless of show or movie, the potent concoction is always depicted as a vivid blue that practically glows in the scene. The Internet abounds with recipes for Romulan Ale and a variety of ingredients are used of varying legality and safety. Not being a mixologist or a particularly alcohol savvy person, I fixed on the color and decided to just make something I would find tasty. I used ratios because I have no patience for measuring things in the kitchen and prefer a more heuristic approach. Good luck with this! I found it tasty but I think the basic principle of mixing what you want to drink is a good one.

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Romulan Ale with some interstellar company

Ingredients:

  • Electric blue Gatorade
  • Vodka, cake flavor (or personal favorite flavor)
  • Sprite or other clear lemon-lime pop

Directions: I did a 1:1 ratio of vodka to Sprite. Then I did a 3:1 mixture of Gatorade to vodka/pop mix, stirred, and poured. I served the drink cold, like the revenge of a Romulan. I wanted to garnish it with sour gummy fruit since DS9 established the Romulans like sour/tart flavors but, alas, I wound up not being that coordinated. You could adjust this to be more or less alcoholic based on your personal preferences but I found this to be tasty and it was certainly electric blue in the pictures.

There you have it, dear pond readers! The discussion and menu for my Star Trek day all outlined above. I hope that this inspires you to go watch some Star Trek with some yummy food and good friends. What do you think of our comments on the episodes? Do you think you’ll try these recipes? Do you think you’ll try to give anyone in your life a tour of Star Trek? 2016 is the 50th anniversary of Star Trek and a perfect time to introduce people to this amazing franchise. One of my favorite Internet spots, io9, also did an article on introducing Star Trek to people that you can check out for more variety.  Leave your comments and thoughts below please and thanks for stopping by the pond today. Live long and prosper!

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Peace and Long Life

P.S. If you want to watch some Star Trek now AND support a Trekkie blogger you like, you can pick up some Star Trek using these links: Star Trek: The Complete Original Series (Seasons 1-3) [Blu-ray]; Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Complete Series [Blu-ray]; Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Complete Series; Star Trek Voyager: The Complete Series; Star Trek: Enterprise: The Full Journey – The Complete Series Collection box Set [Blu-ray]; STAR TREK-ANIMATED SERIES-ANIMATED ADV OF GENE R(DVD)(4DISCS); Slow Cooker Revolution and as a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, I will earn a small fee. Thanks for your support!